Public Opinion Helps Limit Railway Price Hike

China's central authorities announced in Beijing Sunday to exercise a limit on the railway ticket price hike during the traditional Lunar New Year holiday, in accordance with the public opinion.

The Ministry of Railways originally planned to raise price of seats by 30 percent during the holidays. But the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) organized a hearing, the first of its kind in China, on January 12 in Beijing, where most of the consumer representatives showed their disagreement with the markup plan.

Opinions were also submitted to the commission by telephone and e-mail, most of which did not support the price hike.

According to the final decision by the SDPC issued on Sunday, authorized by the State Council, the range of any price change in railway seat ticket during the holiday should not be more than 15 percent.

In addition, such changes may be maintained for 20 days only, 13 days less than the period originally proposed by the Ministry of Railways.

A spokesman of the SDPC said that the decision has been made with both consumers' interest and the railway enterprises' management taken into account.

The spokesman said that the SDPC will also organize a series of hearings for price of air tickets and telecommunication charges.

( People's Daily January 28, 2002)

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